09 January 2006

Uh oh, now the Twins want out

Upset over the lack of progress in getting a new Minneapolis ballpark built, the Twins asked a Hennepin County judge to relieve them of their remaining lease at the Metrodome after the 2006 season. There are many issues at play including revenue sharing from new premium seats, but it really comes down to the Twins' new digs in the end. This promises to only get uglier.

What I don't understand is why Selig would allow both the Marlins and Twins to proceed in this manner simultaneously. If they want to get the most leverage out of negotiations with their existing home cities and their prospective relocation cities, it would make the most sense to let them work on different schedules so that they don't appear to be competing with each other.

Stone hints at SJ ballot measure?

In today's Merc, it was revealed that the Quakes' soccer stadium initiative will be pushed back a couple of weeks due to a heavy agenda. Later in the article is a quote from Baseball San Jose leader and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone regarding a joint soccer/baseball facility initiative:
"I wouldn't mind frankly having them go jointly to ballot at the same time and capture two professional sports franchises,'' said Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, a leader with Baseball San Jose. "But if the lower-priced soccer ballot measure preceded a baseball measure, it would doom major league baseball in this area for a long time."
The interesting thing about the separate soccer and baseball efforts is that they both have a smaller chance of passing if they remain separate than if they're combined. It's hard to conceive of voters approving funds for an expansion MLS team after one just skipped town. It's also difficult to understand why voters would vote for a ballpark when the A's haven't officially declared their interest.

The key, then, is Lew Wolff. Wolff is supposedly going to meet with MLS commissioner Don Garber sometime this month to discuss Wolff's interest in Earthquakes 4.0. Wolff isn't interested in building the soccer stadium on the Diridon South site; he wants to make the fire training site work. To refresh your memory as to how it would work, he's the graphic I drew up 3 weeks ago:

As much as Wolff isn't going to officially say that San Jose is a potential A's site, it would be crazy for him to interfere with the ballpark process and eliminate San Jose prematurely, especially if Oakland doesn't work out. I'm not going to say that it's been Wolff's grand plan all along - there are too many variables at play - but it's a potentially compelling option to explore for numerous reasons.